By translating your website, you are creating a presence in international search engines. Translated content does not count as duplicate content, so simply by having multilingual versions of your website, you are already poised for success. Translation boosts your international SEO ranking in 2 main ways:
If you present high-quality content that has been professionally translated, you will establish your business as a strong force in a relatively small pool of companies. More and more companies are translating their websites, but they are dwarfed by the huge number who haven’t yet (or who have done so using machine translation). This makes it relatively easy to rank highly in the localized versions of search engines, such as Google.se or Google.fr.
Also, it can be easier to boost your SEO ranking in other languages because there is less competition for keywords. Using keywords in other languages will help search engines better understand your business, thereby boosting your association with those keywords.
Your English website may be on the first page of Google.com, but it won’t be visible on Google.de unless you translate into German. Do so, and you are suddenly accessible to a massive pool of German consumers.
Not only are you visible to consumers and potential customers - bloggers, critics, and social media users will also be viewing your website, reviewing your services, and writing about you. Having incoming links from reputable websites is always valuable, and with multilingual content the audience from which these links will come is much wider.
Localization is a key component of creating search engine-friendly content, but it is not a quick-fix method. Investing in websites that reflect the geography, culture, and idiosyncrasies of your target market will result in gradual, long-term building of authority - both with your customers, and search engines.
Using machine translation may seem like a quick, low-cost option, but if you care about your SEO ranking, it is an unwise choice. Google penalizes low-quality content (machine translation almost always results in low-quality translations), and will not index websites translated using Google Translate.
Lastly, do not simply translate your keywords word-for-word. The search terms used by your current customers may not apply to international markets. For each language you translate into, research the terms people are actually searching for - they may not be what you would expect.
If you are looking to market your business to the international consumer, translating your website is the best way to reach a broader audience. By ensuring your content and translations are high-quality, you can look forward to high SEO rankings and droves of new customers.